Thursday, September 24, 2015

After have my spine "screw up" with titanium . Do I have limitation ?

Actually I start becoming aware of birds from watching Oriental Honey-Buzzard on their migratory flight about 12 years ago. From then onward I am like the migratory Oriental Honey-Buzzard, I will spend a few days of my annual leave in the month of March at Tanjung Tuan, Melaka border of Port Dickson.

 Unfortunately I could not made it to be there last year (2014) as it during my recovery period of the Scoliosis Spinal Fusion spinal surgery to stop and correct my “C” curve that has progress to 64° cobb degree. Many still think that Scoliosis is just dealing with outer deformed body only and spine bones will stop curving once the person has reached adulthood. 

I am a 7th months premature baby. Maybe I could not wait to see the rainbow, dragonfly, the greens, hear the birds chirping , my parents face therefore I rush out so early from my mother's womb. I never heard off my grandma and my mum did mentioned that I was born deformed (my spine have no curve). However they always remind me that  I am a very small and fragile look baby.  No one dare to carry me except the doctor, nurses and my mum. My mum said the scariest  thing is to gave me bath cause I could slipped off from her hand into the bathtub and drowned. My mum narrate the “long time ago stories” that in my initial infant stage I have difficulties on feeding and sleeping. I was wailing through out the night.   Hmmm it could be all related to premature baby syndrome.  It was such relief for my parent cause I grow up normally.  During my high growth spurt I can eat 6 dinner plates of fried meehoon in one meal.

Of unknown reason my spine started to have a very slight minor curve when I was about 8- 9 years old. I noticed my spine is not "ruler straight" when a doctor put up my chest x-ray film to analyze my bronchitis. I look physically perfect straight that time.   When I was about 11 - 12 yrs old in a normal clinical visitation  due to normal flu, that general practitioner informed my mother that I am having “weird back”.  Scoliosis become prominent and evident then.  As this “weird back” surface during my Adolescent age, therefore in medical term I am having Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis. It is very clear that I was not born with it. So mine is not congenital. Why Idiopathic ? Cause it is due to unknown reason.

My parents think that scoliosis (weird back) is just deal with outer body structure only. Spine is all related to bones therefore once the person obtain adulthood there will be no change (curve will stop). They are wrong.  When I was in my early adulthood my spine curve was having the cobb reading of 45°. I have no major fall, I never had slipped disc problem, No spondylosis .  Issue related to bones and you suspect that I am lack of calcium. You are wrong! I would reject any milk or any dairy products that is not creamy. My spine curve keep progress over the years until it touch cobb 64°. From feeling  nothing till it progress to daily suffer from bloated gas trapped intestine, mild breathing problem and mild back sore. It has yet to pose any hindrance in my daily lives. I do not need any pain killer. In my working life before the spinal ops, the longest MC I had was due to chicken pox (5 days MC) . Normally yearly I have NO MC taken for the year in my annual leave record.  Working in the demanding IT lines, there are times I am required to work very long hours eg 16hrs – 36hrs.   The effect is I will have soreness/mild back-ache.   I just need to find a flat surface to lie down to stretch my back.

Well you may think  of this sets of questions for me to avoid spine surgery.   Yes indeed your spine curve is severe but not in tremendous serious stage yet. You are yet to reached  only able to walk less than 10 steps and then need to stop for resting. Breathing problem yet in a serious stage.  Lungs and heart health is still intact.    No problem even to climb hill and mountain lugging around with your birding equipment. Why take the spine surgery?  Is it necessary? Have you thought of the risk ? What about implant broke and you suffer more pain then  now? Why don't you opt for the alternative rather than this spine surgery?

My answer to that is spinal medical surgery has advanced so much. Did you get the latest update on spinal medical information from the spine specialist?What is your opinion? Should I wait until I loose 1/3 of my lungs function then only take up the spine surgery?  Maybe you keep listening and reading from people who had spine ops with the olden spinal medical technology. In that sense you should think of our hand phones improvement and advancement over the years. If this hand-phone thing that is just part of our nice to have thing in our life have advance so much, then what do you think of the spinal medical technology ?  Spinal medical technology still the same decades ago ?  My curve is progressing, what others method  can I do to reverse the curve.   So I need to do something!!  This is dealing with bones.  To prevent a curve twisted tree continue to go more haywire,  normally  we  tightly  bind it with ropes and sticks.  It is like Bracing to deal with scoliosis.  Bracing is not for me because Brace is for scoliosis patient below 17 yrs old  with the preferably curve less than 45°. During that age, human are in their high growth spurt, scoliosis curve can progress rapidly. For this group they will get benefited, hopefully the brace will slow down the curve progression.   Some patients they got bonus.   Their spine curve able to reduce a bit. Scoliosis Research Society stated that for bracing a scoliosis growing child 90% can get their curve  reduce.

Death ? Paralyze?  For this we are expose to a much  higher risk on the road than in the operating 
theater.  Since driving on the road is more dangerous and the risk is so many level higher, should I also keep away from doing so? 

In the month of March 2015 I am passing the 13th moths post ops. Unlike all those years this year I do no need to stop and catch up with my breath when I walk up to this Cape Rachardo (Tanjung Tuan) Light house.

Where is Tanjung Tuan (Cape Rachardo)?
It is at the border of Negeri Sembilan and Melaka about 18KM south of Port Dickson. Is it with the coordinate of 2°24'26”N 101°51'8”E

What is the attraction there beside the beach?
Each year thousand of raptors from Siberia, China, Japan during Autumn will will be on their annual migration to South East Asia through the East Asian flyway. In this flyway the furthest wintering place is Indonesia. During spring migrations that is from Feb till April you can witness thousand of raptors fly pass from Tg Rupat, Sumatra, Indonesia making their way back to their breeding ground (Korea, Japan, Siberia, India, China).

Annually MNS (Malaysia Nature Society) and Tourism of Melaka will hold a Raptor Watch carnival during the second weekend of March to introduce the public of migratory raptors at “our own backyard.” On a good raptor day there are about 3,000 – 5,000 raptors fly past Tg Tuan from Tg Rupat (Indonesia).

Raptors migration happen every spring and autumn. Autumn migrations is where the raptors migrate to a warmer country for wintering. This is one of the greatest spectacular  phenomena and mysteries where even a juvenile who has just learn how to use it's wings will also participate on this thousand of KM flights. How could a young kid know the fly path is absolutely mind boggling to us. Birds migrations are instinctive involve with their hormonal changes and it is trigger by the length of daylight decreasing during autumn. 

Spring migrations is where the birds are making their way back to their origin place for breeding purpose. Food for them are plentiful as insects that has being hibernate/dormant during winter are alive and active in spring. Raptors migrate during daytime as they have large sturdy wings compare to the song birds.

Yearly there are many birdwatchers, ornithologist, bird researchers gather at raptor migration sites around the world to witness raptors migrations.

YES ! On good raptor day you can see 3,000 – 5,000 Oriental Honey-Buzzard fly over Tg Tuan during spring migration. Migration required a lot of energy and strength from the bird. Birds are smart they would rather do the energy-efficient flight. It is a long way back home and the journey is hazardous and tedious.

Visibility, condition of weather, wind speed, wind direction, humidity, thermal , the nearest land mass are the determine factors for migration pattern and count for the day.

Majority species of raptors that fly past Tg Tuan (Cape Rachado) are Oriental Honey-Buzzard, Chinese Goshawk, Japanese Sparrowhawk and Black Baza. Occasionally some days the birdwatchers , bird researchers and ornithologist got so excited due to some vagrant that fly past such as Common Buzard, Kestrel, Harrier, Hobby. Osprey, Black Kite , Booted Eagle, Falco, Spotted Eagle and some other species that are yet to know that usually use another fly path instead of this East Asian Flyway.

These are some of the spectacular individual that fly over my head during 23rd March - 26th March 2015.

This bird  fly so low that it could not fit into my camera frame.

Falco usually fly very high and fast.  I held up my camera equipment on both of my hands point to the sky, track it with my lens and press the shutter.  Eeeeh ...Voila I got it capture in my CF card. 

Oriental Honey-Buzzard have a few colour variants. They come in pale and dark morph.

I waited from 9am - 4pm plus under the hot scorching sun for them to fly past Tg Tuan. I  hope that you like to watch birds after admiring my photos..... 

Skoliosis... SCOLIOSIS... SCooooliosis... OOOh I am paranoid.!!

Some people are over panicky over “Scoliosis... Skoliosis.. SKOLIOSIS... SCOooooLIOSIS” . The child had no abnormal spine curve but due to the child is in growing stage yet the child is being send to the spine specialist. Some parents even insist o have x-ray. 

Some are in the opposite. Wish to keep ignoring spine surgery even their child is having abnormal severe curve. They rather do all sort of alternatives eg buy RM3K “special shoes”, corset, send for intensive chiropractor treatment, Tui Nah, chee kong, Accupunture, Ayurvedic, form prayer chain hopefully that the abnormal curve can disappear overnight and some even send to the bomoh. For this group do you want to wait to see your child battling with shortness of breath, pain around rib cage, backache, could not find the comfort position to sleep ,sit and only able to walk less than 10 steps? Have excruciating pain when leg put down to the ground. One Kidney need to remove or lung got puncture?

You are in dilemma now? Everyday you being feed with feedback from some people from the scoliosis forum that they regretted to have their spinal surgery years ago. Did you really dig into details? When they had their ops? Usually more than 10 years ago. Some even had tragic car accident that cause the implant fail. For those who had tragic car accident even the person is without any implant would also have high probability of being paralyze. Everyday things around us improve. Years ago, phones function is only SMS text msg and voice call. Do you think spine medical technology is stagnant and still stay backward ? We should not limit God . He is very creative. He do use the hands and minds of surgeons as HIS tools.

After spinal fusion, a few vertebrae is being fused and lock up as one bones. Dreams and vision need to be re-align after spinal fusion? NO. I took up spinal fusion about 18mth ago. From my experience I am still able to do what I enjoy after my restriction are lifted on the 6thmonths post ops. I still have steady hands to hold up my camera equipment that is without image stabilizer to capture birds on flight. I will share later with you all those Oriental Honey Buzzard photos that I took during March 2015 during their migration flight.

My fussed vertebrae of T3 – L2 have no complain of the recent 40KM plus per way of bumpy, rocky unpaved road that leads to Endau Rompin Kampung Peta.

In short  I have better quality life and health after spinal fusion to stop my Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis.  In fact I am now planning to witness Vulture migration at Australian Based Camp, Nepal later part of this year.